When to Discard the Three-Act Story Structure

When to Discard the Three-Act Story Structure

There are times to follow the rules of story, and there are times to break the rules. When should you use the three-act story structure, and when should you discard it entirely?

When the Real World Intrudes on Your Story

When the Real World Intrudes on Your Story

Remember The Brady Bunch? It was a show before my time, but I was an avid Nick at Nite watcher in my teenage years, so I became very familiar with The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, and Happy Days.

I watched the Brady Bunch movies of the 90s, and sometimes dreamed of being Marcia Brady (although I had a crush on Peter pre-fro), but apparently there was an additional member of the Brady clan who never showed their face on the episodes that I watched.

His name was Cousin Oliver, and he ruined The Brady Bunch.

When You’re Stuck, Write What You Know

Write What You Know

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. The show comes from the mind of Tina Fey, and it reminded me a lot of her previous show, 30 Rock. Both shows share the same sense of humor, and take place in New York City, where Fey spent a significant chunk of her career writing for Saturday Night Live. While UKS takes its storylines and cues from the “fish-out-of-water” line of storytelling, 30 Rock is undeniably right from Fey’s personal experience with SNL.

Tina Fey’s new show is a prime example of a show-runner/writer writing what she knows.

The Complete Guide to Italicization

The Complete Italicization Guide

Some time ago, we published a post on italicization in album and song titles. And then Joe sent me a screengrab of a Google search with general italicization questions, so we’re going whole-hog and attempting to write an all-inclusive complete guide to italicization: when you do and when you don’t. We’ve covered italicization in song titles and album titles already, so we’re moving on from there.

The Philosophy of Villains

The Philosophy of Vilains

Depending on the fictional work, villains have different philosophies on the relationship between good and evil. Some villains are aware of the fact that heroes are willing to go to great lengths to ensure that the forces of good and justice prevail. Others can’t comprehend the idea of a hero sacrificing themselves for the sake […]

Apotheosis: Definition and Examples for Writers

apotheosis

Many of the earliest forms of written literature that exist are religious texts, and most of us at some point in our schooling will study at least one type of ancient mythology, be it Greco-Roman, Egyptian, or Norse. I happened to be fascinated with all three at the age of ten. More than once in these stories do you run into a human mortal being raised to the status of a god. There is a name for this phenomenon, and it’s called apotheosis.

The First Law of Tragicomedy & Dramedy

Tragicomedy and dramedy

One of the first things I remember from ninth grade English is discussing the origin of comedy and tragedy from the classical Greek plays. We read both Oedipus Rex and Antigone over the course of the next several years of English classes, and Shakespeare’s plays, both comic and tragic, made their way into the curriculum, as they have the tendency to in most high school English classes. I was in a production of As You Like It, one of Shakespeare’s most well-known comedies. Even in those earliest forms of literature and theater, writers played with blending the elements of tragedy and comedy together. We call these blended works tragicomedies or dramedies.

Pyrrhic Victory: Definition and Examples for Writers

Pyrrhic victory

I’m a little bummed that I’ve missed my chance to see the first part of Mockingjay in theaters, since movies apparently only live in theaters for six weeks these days. (Anyone else remember when The Lion King was in theaters for like 9 months?) I enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy a lot, but Mockingjay was probably the weakest of the three in my opinion, so I’m curious to see how the movie compares, and if any tweaks were made to the story.

How Into the Woods Got it Wrong (And Why You Should Too)

Into the Woods

This weekend, I finally got around to seeing Into the Woods. Years ago, I saw the play the film is based on with my high school drama club on Broadway. Of course, because Into the Woods is a Disney film, there were a few things from the original musical that didn’t make it to the big screen (the fate of Rapunzel, the Baker’s Wife’s encounter with Cinderella’s Prince, etc.). Despite those changes, the overall theme of the musical remained intact.

Why the Best Characters for Your Story are Weirdos

characters who are weirdos

So much of what most of us consider to be good writing requires the writer to create a believable scene and realistic characters—or if not believable and realistic, close enough so that the reader willingly suspends their disbelief. Today’s article and corresponding writing practice is all about throwing those rules out the window by writing about weirdos.